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"The San Francisco Bay Area's biggest anime convention."

The official website, and far more detail than can be expounded upon here, can be found at [fanime.com].

I haven't seen official attendee numbers for 2006 yet, but the last estimate I heard put it at at little over 10k.

Kazuhiko has been staffing ConOps at Fanime for three years now, Nataku longer.

Definitely a fun con with lots going on even 24 hours (although admittedly that includes some scary hentai or yaoi stuff in the small hours of the morning).  I'll be honest and say that 2005 did not impress me, to the extent that I was wondering about the future of the con.  2006 turned that all around.

Also got to meet Hart and Taa and scare them (and random Chinese gentlemen) with traditional Japanese clothing.  Yay Hart and Taa! (Hope you enjoyed the rest of the con?) --K

(hart) Well, it was great in theory.  The con included tons of video rooms showing stuff I was actually interested in seeing, a huge dealer room with a variety of different vendors, and an artist room with a bunch of signed goodies.  Unfortunately, the execution fell rather flat for me, probably because of my expectations.  I'd never been to an anime con before, but I've gone to several other types of con - general gaming, tabletop RPG, E3, that sort of thing.

One of my main goals was to purchase a great deal of anime.  Based on prior experience with gaming cons I expected that the prices would be very reasonable.  At gaming cons, representatives for gaming companies come to the con and sell their products for somewhat less than you'd expect to pay in the store, usually by the tune of a 10-20% discount.

Unfortunately this was not the case; everywhere I went the titles I was looking for were sold for $20-$24, which is the same amount I'd pay picking up the disk at Best Buy or Amazon.  I was fully prepared to spend about $1200 on disks, but at those prices there was no point - I could buy them when I got home and not have to worry about carrying them around with me at the con.

Yes, unfortunately true.  As staff, we were informed that gas prices have hit the dealers hard this year and that asking dealers for a "staff discount" would get your badge pulled.  I can't help thinking this was a little self-defeating, however, since, as you said, if hey don't offer some kind of discount why should we bother buying there? --K

The other major disappointment was the video rooms, which were the main attraction for me.  I was able to watch 5-10 hours of video total.  I had planned to hit the dealer room and once finished, spend the rest of the trip viewing series I hadn't yet seen.  Unfortunately, a few little problems added up to prevent me from watching much of anything.

The first issue was the fact that all films were shown in Japanese, with English subtitles.  I like subtitles fine; this was a problem only because subtitles are displayed at the bottom of the screen.  This became a problem because the bottom of the screen area was set up quite low.  Were there noone in front of you, you could see fine from the back row.  However, should someone sit in the front 2-4 rows, their head blocked the view of everyone in the rows behind them.  Had the video projectors been adjusted to use only the upper portion of the screen, this would have been deftly avoided.

I passed this on to 'upper management'.  Hopefully, this should reach the right person at the staff post-con meeting this weekend. --K
Many thanks!  --h

With that understanding, the only real option you had when a group of inconsiderate louts mobbed the front row was to stand up to see over their heads.  Not being an inconsiderate lout myself, I wanted to make sure I was standing somewhere such that I would not ruin the show for someone else; this meant standing up on the outer edge of the audience.  However, whenever I did so, someone from staff would shortly come tell me to sit down; since sitting down meant being unable to see the subtitles, I was forced to go try and find a less popular video room showing something of interest.  Unfortunately, this is a contradiction in terms; at a convention dedicated to japanese animation that's showing a bunch of japanese animation, everything of interest is popular.

I'm sure staff had perfectly good reasons for shooing me off, but they weren't apparent.  Probably something to do with blocking fire exits.  Word to the wise: if you have feet and you're flamable, you're never blocking a fire exit.  I really wish there'd been a procedure to have a staff member come remove inconsiderate louts from the front row.

This one, unfortunately, is somewhat unavoidable.  The fire regulations are not con' rules, their hotel/state/federal rules and not having staff do this ends up with the convention being penalised.  One (flamable) person (with feet) does not block a fire exit, but ten or twenty do. --K
Ah, I knew there must be a reason.  No worries if the problem is resolved in another fashion though, as I'm sure everyone would much rather sit. --h

I may still attend cons in the future, but if I do so I'll certainly try to bring a group of friends along with me.  Without a bunch of people to bandy about with there's not realistically much to do, but the people involved with cosplay certainly looked like they were having a great deal of fun.  I was able to pick up some nice art for the house from the art room, as well as a terrible green stuffed thing, Taa got a voodoo baby and a pair of ears, and we had a bit of fun just wandering around so the trip wasn't a total bust.  Unfortunately, the highlight for me was eating [fondue] at a restaurant downtown.

CategoryAnime CategoryConvention

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